Zu, Warriors From The Magic Mountain (HK 1983)

Rating: ***
Director: Tsui Hark
Cast: Yuen Biao, Adam Cheng, Mung Hoi, Samo Hung, Moon Lee, Brigitte Lin, Damien Lau, cameos by Tsui Hark, Dick Wei

Hmm. Another bizarre entry from Tsui Hark, this movie was the first to bring high tech modern special effects to Hong Kong cinema, and even utilized some of the people who worked on "Tron", "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and "Star Wars". It's an extremely ambitious film full of magic and monsters, but the effects are so cheesy that it's hard to take seriously. Additionally, the costumes have that bright 1970's primary colors look, and the wire effects are embarrassingly poor. The film also contains some very bizarre jump cuts and pseudo stop-motion segments. But overall, the film has all the charm of a Ray Harryhausen fantasy flick, complete with an awkwardly misplaced melodramatic musical score, and the sheer volume of visual effects is numbing. Yuen Biao is a charming swordsman accompanied by apprentice monk Mung Hoi, and later in the film, a cute-as-always sword weilding Moon Lee. The swordplay between Samo and Yuen is wonderful, but brief, and Brigitte Lin works on cultivating her stoic "Asia The Invincible" persona. John Carpenter sites this film as inspiration for "Big Trouble In Little China".